News From Sen. Harry Reid - Assistant Democratic Leader From Nevada

REID SECURES $8.4 MILLION FOR YUCCA MOUNTAIN OVERSIGHT

Tuesday, July 18, 2000

Washington, D.C. United States Senator Harry Reid successfully secured nearly $8.4 million in state and local oversight funding for the proposed Yucca Mountain repository during a committee mark-up Tuesday of H.R. 4733, the FY 2001 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill.

"Nevadans are overwhelmingly opposed to the construction of a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, but the only way to put the brakes on this runaway train is to prove through sound science that the site is flawed. This bill contains $2.5 million for the state of Nevada, and nearly $6 million for local communities to conduct critical scientific oversight of on-going work on the Yucca Mountain Project," said Reid, The Assistant Democratic Leader.

As the senior Democrat or Ranking Member on the Energy and Water Appropriations Development Subcommittee, Reid works to fund important projects and set spending priorities including funding levels for the Yucca Mountain project. While both the President's budget and the House's Energy and Water bill called for increased spending on Yucca Mountain, Reid fought to block any change in the project's funding level, which was kept at $351 million.

"The American taxpayers have already spent more than billions of dollars on the proposed nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, and there is no justification for an increase over last year's budget level," Reid said.

Also funded by Reid under this year's Energy and Water bill is more than $20 million for continued flood control work in Southern Nevada along the Tropicana and Flamingo washes.

"Flash flooding has caused million of dollars in property damage in Southern Nevada, but more importantly it has taken lives in only a matter of seconds. Work on the Flamingo and Tropicana washes will reduce the risk of flooding and prevent erosion damage, while protecting lives, businesses and homes."

Reid was also successful in obtaining more than $2 million for work to restore wetlands along the Las Vegas Wash, and for environmental restoration work at Lake Mead.

"The Las Vegas Wash empties directly into Lake Mead which is the source of Southern Nevada's drinking supplies," Reid said. "This funding will help restore lost wetlands along the Wash as part of a large scale environmental restoration effort at the Lake conducted by the Bureau of Reclamation, in cooperation with the City of Henderson, The Southern Nevada Water Authority and UNLV."

BUREAU OF RECLAMATION

Lake Mead/LasVegas Wash Program - $1,500,000 Funds will be used to continue the environmental restoration of the Las Vegas Wash and Lake Mead being conducted by the Bureau of Reclamation in cooperation with UNLV, the City of Henderson, and the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Lahontan Basin Project - $8,441,000 Will be used for water, energy, land, fish and wildlife management and development throughout the Basin. Additionally, funds are included for maintenance and rehabilitation of existing facilities.

Newlands Project Water Rights Fund - $2,700,000 - Funds will be used to continue purchasing and retiring water rights in the Newlands Reclamation Project.

Walker River Basin Project - $315,000 - Funds will be used to initiate the Environmental Impact Statement for water rights acquisition in the basin, recovery of the Walker Lake ecosystem and recovery of the Lahontan cutthroat trout fishery.

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Nuclear Waste Disposal (Yucca Mountain) - $351 million - the same as the FY 00 enacted level and $84 million below the President's FY 01 request. The local funding level is approximately $5.9 million. The state oversight funding is set at $2.5 million with identical restrictions to those in the House.

Environment, Safety, and Health - $5 million - This funding is provided to UNLV to establish a program for DOE -wide management of electronic records.

Solar and Renewable -

1.Photovoltaic Energy Systems - $3.3 million - Funding is provided for integrated research and development partnerships and the 1 Million Solar Roofs initiative

2.Biomass-Biofuels Power Systems - $5.0 million - Funding is provided for a biomass (waste treatment) project that will be located at or near the NTS. An additional $1.5 in support funding is provided for the National Renewable Energy Lab to assist with the project.

3.Hydrogen Research - $4 million -. Funding is provided to develop an underground mining locomotive and earth mover using hydrogen-powered fuel cells. The machines will be developed using Nevada mines.

4.Electric Energy Systems and Storage - $500,000 - This will complete a demonstration project that is designed to find ways to easily put energy from small, remote renewable projects into the electric grid. Important because these small projects have a tendency to wreak havoc on the grid.

5.Geothermal - $2 million - This funding will allow the Department of Energy's "Geopowering the West" Program to continue, which seeks to provide 10 percent of all the power in the western U.S. through geothermal.

Advanced Accelerator Applications - $5 million - This funding is provided to UNLV as part of a $60 million national Accelerator Transmutation Waste research and development project.

Environment, Safety, and Health - $1 million - This funding is provided to improve Nevada's Cancer Registry, Vital Statistics, and Birth Defects Registry. In a state with so many residents potentially exposed to radioactive substances during the last 50 years, it is important to get this program running more efficiently.

Petawatt Laser - $2.5 million toward eventual transfer of a laser from Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California to the University of Nevada, Reno. The "Petawatt" laser would complement the University's existing Terawatt facility.

ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

Lower Las Vegas Wash Wetlands - $500,000 - Funds will be used to continue the reconnaissance study that is addressing water quality in Las Vegas Bay of Lake Mead, stabilizing channel and existing wetlands, and restoration of existing wetlands.

Truckee Meadows - $500,000 - Funds will be used to continue preconstruction engineering and design studies for the Truckee Meadows project. The project will be cost shared with Washoe County.

Walker River Basin - $100,000 - Funds will be used to complete the reconnaissance phase of the study and to initiate the feasibility phase. The feasibility phase will be cost shared with the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources on a 50/50 basis. The studies are addressing the potential solutions to the flood risk and the decline of environmental resources.

Tropicana and Flamingo Washes - $21,600,000 - Funds will be used to continue construction of the project which will provide flood protection, erosion control, and wildlife enhancement. Project costs are being shared with Clark County Regional Flood Control District.

Operation and Maintenance Funds - $715,000 -. These funds will be used for routine operation and maintenance activities at Martis Creek Lake, Pine and Mathews Canyon Lakes, and inspection of completed works.


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